Phoenicia. Tyre. ‘Uzzimilk. c. 347-332 BC, year 4 = 346/345 BC

Phoenicia. Tyre. ‘Uzzimilk. c. 347-332 BC, year 4 = 346/345 BC


AR Stater, 8.79g (22mm, 12h). Melqart, holding bow, riding on hippocamp r.; below, two lines of waves and a dolphin swimming to r. / Owl standing r., crook and flail over l. shoulder; to r., date IIII O.

Pedigree: From the collection of W. F. Stoecklin, Amriswil, Switzerland, acquired from Hess AG in Luzern in the 1950s and previously in the collection of the Coin Cabinet in Gotha, Germany.

References:  Elayi & Elayi 868-77. HGC 10, 349. SNG Copenhagen 309

Grade:  Nice large flan with all elements visible. Slight wear on the face of owl. Cabinet toning and pleasant surfaces. aEF  (gk1180)

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The city of Tyre was the second largest city (the first was Sidon) in Phoenicia. The early Phoenicians had no need for money, choosing instead to use the barter system. They did this despite traveling extensively. However once the Persians conquered the area the need for coin was high due to tribute demanded from their overlords. Initially this was accomplished by coinage entering Phoenicia from places like Macedonia, Thrace, Athens and Cyprus. After 480 BC once Xerxes collided with the Greeks the situation changed and less Greek money was available so far east. This forced the Phoenicians to begin to coin their own money. Tyre started to strike coinage sometime around 450 BC with the earliest coins showing a dolphin leaping over the waves, an obvious allusion to the sea. The reverse showed an owl carrying a crook and flail, the Egyptian symbols of sovereignty. It is certainlyinteresting to see all the influences the Phoenicians had. The Egyptian were not involved with the 

Phoenicians by this point but still remained relevant in their coinage. One could also suggest that Athens was influential with the reverse of an owl on their coinage. The Phoenicians were certainly familiar with the Athenian tetradrachms that circulated throughout the region. In addition, the reverse shows numbers which are assumed to represent the regnal dates of the Tyrian dynasts. 

This coin comes from the magnificent coin cabinet in Gotha, Germany. Afterwards the coin was deaccessioned and purchased by the auction house Hess AG in Luzern and acquired by the collector W.F. Stoecklin sometime in the 1950’s.